During my lunch duty stint yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with my colleague, Mark Wagner (no, not the ITM one...) about students missing school for travel. When I taught in the public school system, "perfect" attendance was such the mantra, and now I look back and see how unrealistic and undesirable that really is. I suppose some of that propaganda is important with families who don't send their kids to school for not so great reasons, but here at Lab, it's a different story.
Because of our connections to the University of Chicago, many students hail from various countries or their parents' work involves a great deal of travel abroad, so it's not surprising that we have students who accompany their parents on trips, especially at this time of year. Mark and I discussed how easy it would be for parents to keep in touch with school matters if they had access to a laptop while traveling. We then moved on to thinking about kids blogging about their experiences from wherever they were and then we topped that by musing about providing a generic set of open ended digitally oriented assignments for kids on the road. Mark really capped it off by thinking that we actually give families a laptop to borrow in these cases. We have loaners for teachers' computers that are taken in for repair, why not have some available to families to record their experiences while traveling?
While I don't know the feasibility of all of this, I like the "thinking outside of the box" aspect to such an idea. What a concept.. we actually accommodate our students instead of throwing a slew of busy work at them. I think that this could definitely work if we ever adopt a 1 to 1 program. Just wanted to jot this idea down before here before it escapes my brain.